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Floods Of 1946–”Some Of The Worst In Living Memory”

February 17, 2020

By Paul Homewood



h/t Me GrimNasty



I am also reminded of the floods in February 1946, described on this Pathe film as some of the worst floods in living memory which hit large parts of England and Wales:




As I reported last week, September 1946 also saw some of the worst floods in the Calder Valley on record.

The following year, of course, brought arguable the worst floods of the lot to the country in March.


Indeed, Pathe News have many news items of floods of that era, far too many to list. But I would recommend just picking a couple at random to watch:



  1. Joe Public permalink
    February 17, 2020 8:40 pm

    “Floods Of 1946–”Some Of The Worst In Living Memory”

    Trouble is, there ain’t many left who actually remember them.

    The chances are, most of those who do, probably consider the current flood of propaganda to be hogwash.

    • February 18, 2020 8:24 am

      BBC R4 just interviewed a pub landlord in the Severn catchment who took over in 2008.

      The worst floods I have seen, followed by leading questions about ******* Change.

    • Post Brexit permalink
      February 18, 2020 5:16 pm

      I am always comcious of the fact that when people claim ‘the worst this…..’ ‘on record…. ‘ blah blah blah thta for most people living memory is not that long, on average circa 70 years. So there will ot be many people alive today who will remember the bad winter of 1952, even 1963. They may well of heard about it but not actually experienced it..

  2. Tim Spence permalink
    February 17, 2020 10:30 pm

    There is good footage of the 1947 floods in east anglia, they look horrific, moreso if you’re familar with the zone. But there is a great story of the Old Bedford river, it was built between 1609 and 1615 to short circuit the flow of the Great Ouse (a straight line allows water to discharge quicker). A couple of hundred Navvies and a Dutch engineer excavated the canal and later some scientist used it to demonstrate the curve of the earth by shining a lamp which was supposed to fall below the horizen, but the experiment failed due to lack of distance.

    I used to fish there as a child in the 1960’s and set the float at 4 feet which was the depth, now the depth is just 1 foot due to lack of care and dredging.

    It’s amazing how we could do this in 1609 but now we’re useless and at the mercy of environmentalists.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 18, 2020 1:25 am

      I recall a science teacher taking canoes and a group from school (I wasn’t among them) to the Bedford Levels to repeat some of the earlier experiments on measuring the curvature of the earth. They more or less succeeded (there were several earlier successful attempts following the initial failure), by avoiding the worst of the perils of refraction that give misleading measurements. Of course, Eratosthenes (he whose sieve finds prime numbers) had it all figured out in 240 BC, using the length of a shadow cast on the summer solstice at noon in Alexandria and the distance between there and a well in Syene, on the Tropic of Cancer where the sun was directly overhead.

      • Tim Spence permalink
        February 18, 2020 5:38 pm

        Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth to about 80km accuracy, which is not bad considering the earth is not exactly spherical. He was a total genius if the story is true.

  3. Pancho Plail permalink
    February 17, 2020 10:55 pm

    Thanks to Me Grimnasty for those links – just viewing the list of flood films shows how commonplace flooding has been, and looking at some of the detail is even more eye opening.
    What struck me was one of an aerial shot of miles of flooded countryside, which we don’t seem to get these days, I suspect because close-cropped shots are use the disguise the extent (or lack of it). Even in the last two days, I heard one report from Wales where the reporter said that most of the flooding had occurred in the outskirts of a town, but another broadcast showed the flooded fields and a house or two, but implied that the whole town was equally affected. Quite dishonest, in my view.

  4. Steve C permalink
    February 18, 2020 5:24 am

    Yet still the nonsense keeps flooding in, and in ever-increasing quantities. For example in this morning’s Independent, which assures its hapless readers that “Heavier rainfall is ‘100% for certain’ linked to climate crisis, experts warn”.
    I can almost remember ’53 (I was 2 years old …), which was bad enough, but my big sis was a little girl and remembers the entertainments of 46/47 well.

  5. February 18, 2020 8:23 am

    Flooding that occurs often:
    Proof of Climate Change.

    Flooding that happens infrequently:
    Unprecedented, uncharted.
    Proof of Climate Change.

  6. mjr permalink
    February 18, 2020 9:47 am

    two days running the “weather girl” on GMB (its either that or Biased Broadcasting Con) has stressed the “global warming = warmer temperatures = warmer air = holds more water = more.frequent and heavier storms and rainfall = major floods every week.” Also the news programmes keep interviewing Environment Agency people standing on the edge of a flood in welliies and yellow jackets and yet no questions asked about why maintenance isnt carried out etc

  7. Graeme No.3 permalink
    February 19, 2020 5:52 am

    Curious I got out my copy of Climate and the British Scene by Gordon Manley. He doesn’t mention floods in either 1946 or 47, although there are seven references to Great Floods well before. The book was published in 1952.

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 19, 2020 9:32 am

    Yes, after 1946, it happened all again in March 1947, as discussed before.

    Lots of Pathe films e.g.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      February 19, 2020 10:42 am

      I see the problem, partly because I concentrated on Yorkshire. He was blaming the flooding on high levels of snow melting, and there certainly was a problem of snow in winter 1947 (I remember the picture of passengers leaving a double decker bus through the back window at the top of the stairs).
      For some reason there is no mention of climate change, just changes in climate. How things change.

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